You Don't Have to Be Big to be Accountable
Promote, don’t harass.
Many of the complaints we receive about charities concern unsolicited phone calls and unwanted mail. Telephone solicitation not only irritates and alienates many donors, it also makes little financial sense for charities. A telephone solicitor that keeps 25 cents to 95 cents of every donor dollar is not helping anyone but itself Find a way to get donors to your charity, to get your work known in the community and to connect donors to your recipients, but stay off the phone. In the long run, you’re turning off an entire generation of donors and ensuring that the public stays skeptical and cynical.
Your organization’s Web site is the most effective means of non-invasive self-promotion. The growth of online giving, especially during the tsunami disaster, shows the importance of maintaining a professional, informative, and up-to-date Web site. An organization’s Web site is often the first place a donor looks for information about a charity. If your charity’s site is amateurish, disorganized or out of date or it doesn’t contain relevant information, donors will come away with a negative impression of your organization, no matter how positive an effect your programs have on the community.
A charity that earns the trust of donors can succeed no matter how big its, how long it has existed or how well its name is known. Charities can earn donors’ trust by being transparent and accountable, setting measurable goals and demonstrating results, avoiding the activities that do not align with their mission, and promoting themselves without intruding on donors’ privacy.
Trent Stamp is the executive director of Charity Navigator, the largest charity evaluator in America.